Skip to main content

Full text of "Interrogation Arrest and Condemnation of German Prisoners of War in Soviet Russia"

See other formats






Foreign military studies, Vol 1, No. 3« 
European Commnd. 1951* 

This Document 



ENT NtiJ^fli COPY NO, _1 

11 Mm ••: 

\inn CUSC i'l -Mi;'. 2'.' Mivr .'.1 "tM 







Security InformaHon 



xjcurity Information) 


Copy 11 of 100 copies 





This study is the second of a series of three dealing with 
the experiences of German prisoners of the Russians, The first, 
entitled "The Secret of the Power of the Soviet State," was the 
detailed account of a German released in 1949. The third, written 
by a German medical officer, describes the physical, mental, and 
spiritual deterioration of the repatriated prisoners^ The names 
of the author and reviewer are withheld. 

W. S. NYE 

Colonel, Artillery 

Chief, Historical Division 


According to its official statement of May 1950 the Soviet Union 
has concluded the repatriation of the German prisoners of war. The 
fate of hundreds of thousands of German soldiers is thereby left un- 
certain. The greater part of these men have succumbed from hunger, 
extremely heavy labor, mistreatment and physical and spiritual tor- 
ment. They are silent forever and are buried somewhere in the end- 
less expanses of Russia, However, their relatives continue to hope 
and will suffer until they have some positive knowledge. Another 
smaller number of them have "vanished," or have been "deported" or 
condemned to "silence," Among these latter are probably included 
all those who are not permitted to see the western world again be- 
cause their knowledge of the Soviet system and the infinite number 
of crimes committed under it might perhaps be dangerous to Communism, 
An additional number have been condemned to severe penalties which 
probably none of them will survive, in view of their age and their 
physical and mental condition. 

However, what is the condition of those who were condemned in 
the Soviet Union and are still alive? The evidence available to 
both the German government and the Western Powers is so clear and 
voluminous that probably nobody can doubt any longer that the 
Soviet Union has committed striking perversions of justice for poli- 
tical reasons. A number of separate reports, containing concrete 
statements, have called attention to these facts, The number of 
those condemned, some of them without a trial, without witnesses, 
without legal counsel, without the possibility of an appeal, cannot 
yet be ascertained. However, it must be considered relatively high. 
In order to save face, a few convicted defendants have been pardoned 
and permitted to return home. Perhaps more will be pardoned and re- 
leased if the Western world adopts a resolute and energetic stand 
against these perversions of justice. 

What can be the underlying purpose of these convictions? We 
believe it is the purpose of the Soviet leaders to spread fear and 
terror. They propose to bring about a paralysis of the will to re- 
sist bys announcing : "Look — this is what will happen to you if 
you fall into our hands I" 

The German Reviewer 

i - 


Historical Division. 
Headquarters European Command 
APO 403 

VOLUME I December 1951" "NUMBER 3 



I. DURING* THE ' PERI OB PRIOR TO 17 NOVEMBER 194-9 . . . , * . ' 1 

1. Interrogations, . . . 

« . • • • * » • • » * 

a. The Period of Time Involved . . .. . # * ... . . •» 1 

b. Subjects* of Interrogations. . ......... 2 

aa» "Atrocities and War Crimes. ...... ... # 2 

bb. The Fight Against Partisans. ....... 2 

cc. Measures Against Russian Prisoners of War. 2 

dd. Measures Against Civilians . . . . . . . 3 

ee . Requisitions ............... 3 

ff. Demolitions. • • . . . • . . . . • . • . . .■ •• 4 

gg. Spies. .................. 5 

c. Interrogation Tactics 

aa. Uncertainty About- the Person Concerned •* * 5 
bb. Uncertainty About the Object of the 

Investigation . . . ... . . ... • * * 5 

ce^ ' Interrogation ' Personnel. . . ..... . . 6 

dd', Questions.' .*..'.» i . .. . . ....... . 7 

Foreign Military Studies . Prepared nonperiodically by the Historical 
Division, Headquarters European Command, for the purpose of in- 
creasing the availability of selected 1 special studies and' monographs 
px*epared by" or . under the supervision of this' Division and in coordi- 
nation with other staff divisions of this headquarters as appro- 
priate.* The material presented' herein does* not necessarily reflect 
official Department of the Army doctrine or accepted practices, but 
is for Information only. Local reproduction may be authorized upon 
specific request to this headquarters. A limited number of additional 
eopies may be obtained from the Historical Division, EUGOM, APO 403, 
Phone Gontrol Officer, Karlsruhe Military 2614. 


G ontents — ( C onti nued ) 


ee. Physical Mistreatment ........... 10 

f f » Transcripts « « •• • * * • • • • • * « • ♦ • 11 

gg. Confrontations, .............. 12 

d# Mail * . « • • » . « • -» ■* •#••»,••»•#•• 12 

2. Transfers of Prisoners ............... 13 

a. From the Barracks* . . ............. 13 

b. From the Dungeon » • • . ♦ . . . . . . . . . . . 13 

3. Trials . * . . . . . . . . , . , , . . . . ... . , 13 

4. * Sentences* ■ • " • ' » • • * • *• • ■ • * « • • • • • ♦ • « « 14- 

5. Execution of Sentences . . • . - ; , >.•....* . . . . « • : 14- 

6. -Number of Persons Concerned. • . . . . . • . . . ♦ . 16 

a. At Interrogations. V • ..„...• .. ....... ■ 16 

b. Shipments. • . \ • • . . . v ........ 16 

c. Convicts .... . • • . « • . • • • • • •■• • • 16 

7. Categories Affected. • . . • • > • * • • - * • » 16 
Purpose, • . • . • • • . , •* * * • , .«*. • ....... 16 


1, Interrogations ................... 19 

a. Chronological Order of Events v ......... 19 

b. : Interrogations and Interrogation Methods . • . . 20 

2* Repatriation Shipments . »■ • . . . . . • • • • • • • 20 

3* Court Procedures' . . . . . . • . • . . . . . . . . » 20 

4-. Sentences ...... . .. . . . . • ... • 20 

- 5m Execution of Sentences . .... ........... • 20 

6. . .Categories Affected. . . . . . • . • • • 21 

7. The Number of Convictions.' ............. .22 

a. In Camp No. 7270/3 •. . . . . . * . .... . . . « • 22 

b. In the Other Russian Prisoner of War Camps , . . 22 

8. Purpose* .. c ....... . ..... 23 


I* During the Period Prior to 17 November 194-9 

From personal experience I am able to report on the interroga- 
tion of German prisoners by Russian officials only for the period 
between the eapituiati-on and 17 November 194-9. On this date I left 
Prisoner of War Camp No. 7.270/3 for home-, 

I myself was interrogated only twice. As I had never been in 
Russia before,: and as the officials who interrogated me were happily 
very decent men, I was treated with forbearance. The rest of my 
statements are. based on concurrent information from reliable . comrades 
about their experiences while being interrogated* . • 

1. Interrogations " 

a « The Per i od of Time . Involved .. During our stay in PW Gamp No. 
58 in Mordvinia (I do not know its exact location) from 31 August: 
1945 until mid~January 1947, interrogations were carried, on at. only 
rare intervals and' on a minor scale. . - : ■ ; 

After our arrival in Camp No. 7270, in the vicinity of Borovichi 
some 400 kilometers -northwest of Moscow, there. were at 

It was not until the summer of 1948, "as far as -I remember,' that 
interrogations were carried out more frequently* There. was then • 
already an impression that each prisoner was to be questioned at 
least once. Now and then the interrogations were discontinued, only 
to -be resumed- later, after which they x?ere again, discontinued. -Never 
theless the opinion continued to prevail that every prisoner would 
be interrogated at least once. . ■ . 

- Early in July 1949, .to the best., of .recpllect3.on, interroga 
ti oh commission arrived in the "Forest Camp" (No. 7270/16) situated 
about 30 kilometers southeast of Borovichi, which is approximately 
400 kilometers northwest of Moscow, although I- do not know the exact 
location of the camp. The commission, said to have consisted of 

some twelve persons, worked steadily from that time on until our trans- 
fer from the "Forest Camp" to the "City Gamp" (No, 7270/3) where the 
interrogations were' continued by a .local commission. To the best of 
my knowledge, this commission was augmented after our arrival by 
members of the interrogation commission vjhich had been operating in 
the "Forest Gamp." 

b. Subjects of Interrogations , The chief and ever-recurring 
subjects of interrogations were atrocities and' war crimes 5 measures 
against partisans, Soviet prisoners of war and civilians; requisi- 
tions and demolitions, 

aa. Atrocities and War primes . During nearly every in- 
terrogation the prisoners 'were questioned about atrocities and war 
crimes. They were asked whether they themselves pleaied guilty to 
such acts and whether they knew other members of the Wehrmacht . 
having committed any. As far as I recall, in the spring of 1946 a 
general appeal ?/as issued requesting every member of the German armed 
forces to inform Soviet ■ authorities .about atrocities and war crimes 
committed either by superiors, comrades or subordinates. 

bb. The Fight Against Partisans . The question as to whether 
they had been engaged in fighting partisans was asked all prisoners 
who, by reason of' their as signment,., might have been involved. This 
was particularly the case with respect to members of headquarters, 
security units, units for special assignments and similar organiza- 

I would like to mention the following example: In our camp 
there was a reserve major- who, almost 60 years 'old, had been a bat- 
talion commander in a security regiment. During an engagement with 
partisans, ; which took place, as far as I remember, in 1944s h© ^ as 
captured after having been very seriously wounded in the leg. The 
partisans took him to one of their hospitals where. he recovered. In 
the summer of 1949 he was repeatedly questioned in great detail about 
his unit* s fighting against the partisans. After the conclusion of 
the interrgoations he was shipped out together with a few other in- 
dividuals classified as "suspects" ("Belastete"), No one in the 
•camp doubted that he would be tried because his. unit had fought the 
partisans, nor was there any doubt that he would be sentenced to 
severe punishment of from five to twenty-five years at hard" labor , 
Yet we were convinced that the partisans would not have nursed him 
back to health if either he or his unit had committed even the 
slightest illegal act, . .. 

cc. , Measures Against Russian Prisoners of War , The in- 
terrogations investigating mistreatment of, and other, illegal mea- 
sures against Russian prisoners of war were conducted in' a similar 
manner as the interrogations concerning the : fighting against par- 
tisans '■•- : -All ; Germans who might possibly have, come in . contact with 
lussian prisoners were interrogated. 

dd. Measures Against Civilians, The Russians considered 
deportation and pillage the main crimes against the civilian popu— . 
lation* They interrogated, therefore, all prisoners presumed to 
have had dealings with civilians, such as- military government 
personnel, interpreters, and those w/ho in any way, even though 
remotely, had anything to do with transportation. The term deporta- 
tion covered a multitude of acts, such as, for instance, evacuations, 
even though they had been ordered to safeguard civilians in the com- 
bat zone; eviction of civilians ,td make room for German troops in 
over crowded towns 5 and requisitioning of civilian property. These 
and similar measures were the subjects of interrogations. . : 

Subject to interrogations on these counts were town (garrison) 
commanders, transportation officer s, railroad station commanders > 
members. of truck convoys, railway engineers, military police patrols, 
and others* But the Russians also interrogated in this connection 
some quartermasters, deputy chiefs of staff, as well as the chiefs 
of staff of corps and army headquarters* 

In illustration of interrogation subjects I wish to mention 
the case of an Qberstabsarzt (major, Medical Corps) who had, for 
some time, been the chief surgeon of a German field hospital. For 
potato peeling and similar work he had employed. Russian. ?jomen and 
girls who had volunteered for. the sake of the meals they received. 
When voluntary applications for work as domestics ^in Germany were- ■ 
being accepted two of the girls employed in the hospital applied. 
Because of the interest shown by the chief surgeon,' the girls found 
good positions with German families, one of them in his own house* 
Through an uncautious remark of his in camp the Russian officials ■ 
heard about this, with the result that he was repeatedly interrogated, 
and ordered to immediately inquire from his wife for .the name, of the 
girl. In the meantime I have learned that after 17 November 1949 
this surgeon had also been arrested and that he was, sentenced to 
twenty— five years at hard labor for the deportation 'of Russian, civil- 
ians* The court did not consider it ah extenuating circumstance 
that the physician had personally saved the lives of several Russian 
women in difficult deliveries in his hospital. 

ee. Requisitions . Requisitions were for weeks the main, 
subject of interrogations during the summer of 194-8. The Russians 
not only questioned administrative officers, veterinarians, pay- 
masters and enlisted' men from the supply service, but also commanders 
of field forces, officers and enlisted men of the field forces.. . .They 
were askeds "Where did your unit get its food? 11 The answer that 
n We drew it from our ration distribution point" v/as hot sufficient 
for the interrogation officers. They asserted that the ration dis- 
tributing points had requisitioned the food, and that it had been 
the duty of each commander to inform himself from where the distri- 
bution point had received its supplies, 

Several of my. comrades were asked where they had been billeted 
in Russia. If they answered that . their billets had been earthen 
bunkers in the field, they were asked .where they had taken the 
timber needed for the roof, ■ If they, replied , from the woods, they 
were charged with the illegal removal of Soviet government -property. 
If they said they had taken the wood from a nearby, destroyed and 
evacuated milage^ they were charged with looting. 

Although I cannot vouch for it, the following tale- is' very 
likely true , as- I heard ; it from differ ent -pe opie • ' As enlisted man, 
asked whether "the food he had received had not been monotonus, re- 
plied "No," Thereupon the interrogation officer insinuated that, 
"Surely a chicken occasionally fie w : into your kit?" Admitting that 
this happened just once, the soldier was reportedly given a severe 
prison term for looting which,' if I remember, correctly, was for 
twenty-five years at hard labor. 

Identical interrogation methods were applied with regard to 
all sorts of items, such as timber used to build field fortifica- 
tions, fuel wood, furniture taken from evacuated villages, and so 
forth, " 

ff. Demolitions . Engineer troops, construction and rail- 
way engineer soldiers, and members of similar organizations were 
interrogated about demolitions. . " 

A colonel .in the engineers . who had been a Korpspi'onier- 
fuehrer was interrogated about the destruction of bridges during 
a retrograde movement. Repeated interrogations attempted to deter** 
mine who was responsible for ' ordering the demolition of the bridges. 
The engineer commander stated that such an order could' only have been 
given by the commanding general, who was not a prisoner of the Russians 
and. who was then in West Germany.. When the' chief of staff of this 
: corps headquarters who was in the same camp,, was questioned,' he con- 
' this. . After numerous cross-examinations the engineer com- - 
mander finally admitted that . he had cooperated . In drawing up the 
order for demolishing the bridge. Thereupon the interrogation officer 
told him that he need not worry about admitting his share in giving 
the order for demolishing the bridge, since such a measure was not 
a punishable act when, undertaken during ' combat. ' I -have since learned 
-that after my departure on 17 November 194-9, the engineer commander - 
was sentenced, to a term of twenty-five years at hard ■ labor for de- 
molishing ' the bridge. v "" 

A particular type ' of demolition was. that of factories, railways, 
and so forth, responsibility for which, the. Russians repeatedly tried 

Special staff engineer officer and engineer' commander at corps 

to place on engineer 'troops, railway and construction engineer troops 
and members of similar units,; According to statements made by 
engineer officers, which as far as I know are correct, such demoli- 
tions., were 'carried out by special units -who were not responsible to 
engineer' officers. • Consequently,, neither the engineer commander at 
corps nor at any other' level had any control over these special, 
units, . ; ■-. • .-. •'' . .' ' .' 

gg«' Spies , , All prisoners formerly engaged in intelligence 
or similar matters were searchingly questioned. The Russians per- 
sisted In trying to prove 'that they had been. spies. This applied 
primarily to Intelligence officers /G-27 and all those who ?/orked 
with them, as well as to all radio intelligence personnel. 

As far as was-- known-' in our camp, according to Soviet law, any- 
one who gathers information about. Russia inside its borders is guilty 
of espionage. The same code applied to those who asked a captured 
Russian for more than his name and troop unit* It applied also to 
intelligence officers, and similar officers, although they are au- 
thorized by international law to gather information concerning the . 

It was also characteristic that every prisoner, who had ever 
made a trip abroad, even though it had taken place years before the 
war, was asked what his mission was. The interrogation officers, 
were unable to comprehend that any person might travel' in foreign 
countries for pleasure or on private business. They were convinced 
that anyone who went abroad must have been given an espionage mis- 
sion by his government . Although it was asjced only a few times, 
the question as to who a person's escort, might have been was even 
more , characteristic. The interrogation officers could not be 
persuaded that it was possible for an individual to travel abroad 
without having a government-appointed escort to- watch over him, 

c . Interrogation Tactics » . 

aa. Uncertainty About the Person Concerned. During, all 
interrogations the' person questioned was at first left in the dark 
about the Individual against whom the proceedings were directed, 
These might be directed against himself, a comrade-' in the same 
camp, or against someone else in another prisoner of war camp* 

■ bb» Uncertainty About the Object of the Investigation. An 
attempt was : also made to disguise the object of the investigation as 
much as possible, Shrewd investigating officers knew how , to. keep 
the person interrogated in ignorance" of the object under' investiga- 
tion during most of the hearings , 

cc» Interrogation Personnel, We were amazed at the ex- 
tremely low mental. level, and the utterly defective; military .training 
of the interrogation- officers,! „ Mb&tl q£ ;.i_hem- : - were - ..trained- to ask 
only a few routine ..questions, such as .those designed.., to determine ..... 
identity of .unit, . When these questions could not be answered be— . 
cause, a man's unit- would ; in, no ways fit. the; line of ..questioning - ,, 
(if , for. instance, it . _wa s .; a • .Wehrmacht signal headquarters.) the in-... 
terro gators more or less lost their bearings, became uncertain of 
themselves, and finally obstinately insisted that the question* 
should be answered as asked, which was simply impossible. 

The linguistic abilities, of the . interpreters were. just as :ln— 
adequate, . They. were : " mostly girls who,, the interrogation- . 
officers, were .trained only to ask specific questions. On matters 
which diverged from the' usual subjects of interrogations they 
lacked not only the necessary vocabulary but even an understanding 
of the terms in their own mother tongue, , ... - 

On*- the two occasions I was interrogated in Camp 7270. the fol- 
lowing occurred, I. stated that my duties/ as signal; communications : 
commander ( Nac hr i cht enk ommandant ) had been to maintain liaison be- 
tween the Wehrmacht and the Reichspost (German Mail Service), , The 
term R eichspost had twice been entered in the- transcript. When it 
was mentioned for- the third time, I was finally asked: "What does 
Reichspost mean?" After protracted discussions I succeeded in. ex- 
plaining the word . However , instead of Reichspost (German Mail 
Service) the designation "State Administration of Telegraphs and • 
Telephones" twice appeared in the transcript, Heer eana chr i c hten- : 
zeugamt Berlin ("Army Signal Procurement Office Berlin") appeared ■ 
in the transcript.. taken down during- the same interrogation as ■.- 
"Army Telephone Office Berlin," - 

,1. was repeatedly asked what. was meant by "liaison" between 
Wehrmacht and Reichspost * I doubt whether I succeeded, in spite 
of long drawn out explanations, in making the woman interpreter 
and the interrogation officer understand this term, -Upon men- 
tioning my assignment in 1941 to the staff of the army senior* ■ 
signal officer under ■ Army Headquarters, .LIST, -they /wanted to put 
down in the transcript that' I "had been the. commanding general of 
Army- Headquarters. LIST, . It sounds like a joke, but it is the 
bitter truth, that I . was able- to prevent the recording of .this v 
error only after repeated .remonstrating. By using, pantomime and 
the few German words which the interrogation officer apparently ' 
understood, I y;as finally able to make it ; clear . that s Feldmai*schall 
LiSTy. as a very great man-,'. had' been , on a. chair , while I, as. a ; 
very insignificant .fellow, : had . been under his chair,, \; 

It is self-evident that in this, manner the most serious harm . 
can befall an individual Y/ho does not immediately realize and pro- 
test the . recording of false statements in the transcript. During 

subsequent interrogations or at a trial he is simply confronted 
with his transcribed statement. He is 'accused of being a liar 
and thus loses all chance of ever being believed by the Russians* 

' Questions , The questions asked were ' almost always 

vague. Usually the person interrogated did not know what they 
meant. In the majority of cases the questions undoubtedly were 
intended to be vague, but to a lesser extent this was due to an 
ignorance of the subject matter and incompetent interpreting. An 
attempt, also was always made to induce the person interrogated to 
talk as much as possible, whereupon the interrogation officers 
would try, especially if they were unfamiliar with the topic, to 
set a trap for him through, additional questions, to find contra- 
dictions and thus to confuse and bewilder him* It was clear that 
most interrogation officers were anxious to prove the person before 
them to be a liar or a criminal. 

A similar procedure was follov/ed when a prisoner was ordered 
to write a report on a specific topic. After some length of time 
he was either interrogated ..about it or requested to write a second 
report on the same subject. Any inconsistency between the two 
reports or between the report and the interrogation was then con- 
strued as a contradiction or a lie. 

The experience I had during one of my interrogations will serve 
as an example of how such contradictions were fabricated. I had ' 
stated previously that .one of my duties' as signal communications 
commander was to negotiate the procurement with auxiliary Wehrnacht- 
personnel for the repair of major breakdowns in the Reichspost com- 
munication system, such as occurred, for instance, after air attacks.' 
After a' while I was asked: "What type of personnel worked in your' 
office?" 1 replied: "A few officers and officials, as well as 
civilians, most of them women." I was- then told this was wrong for, 
according to previous statements, I had provided auxiliary personnel 
to the Reichspost for the repair of major breakdowns. . The matter' 
was clarified only after energetic insistance that what I .really 
had said was that I had acted as an intermediary to obtain: personnel 
for the Reichspost ,, in other words, in each individual case I' had 
applied to the military area headquarters or to the air force ad- 
ministrative command headquarters for the. transfer .of needed per- 
sonnel to the Reichspost . 

Another method of extracting information was "bluffing.;" Once 1 
I was asked, for instance: "When were ybu with the Freikorps?"** . .. ■ 
Since I had never served in any such organization I. was at first " 

''"Volunteer corps ,/often formed in Germany, in - 1918 •. to fight 
communism and bolshevism/,, 

puzzled about the meaning'- of the question* It was not until I had 
energetically disdained any such connection and rejected very per- 
sistent repetitions of the sane question that this point was finally 
dropped. The second question was: ."When were you in Borislav?" 
(I an not certain whether I- understood the nafle' correctly. ) . I was - 
able to immediately refute this question by pointing out that I had 
never once been in Russia during the whole war . • 

Gases of mistaken identity also pldy an important part during 
the investigations. For. instance, I was once- questioned about a 
certain General Liegnann. I declared that I did not know ..him either 
by name or personally. I then .was told: "The general gave your 
name as a witness, consequently you must know him. " When ■ I . again 
denied this I was told: "General Liegnann gave us your surname and 
Tirst name, your father's name and the date of your birth, there- 
fore you must know him I" When I said that the general could not 
possibly know all this because neither the first name nor the 
father's name was ever used officially in the German. Array it did 
not help matters* They claimed this information was contained in 
the questionnaire received from the general and that it was there- 
fore evident that he. must have given it,. 

Only gradually by referring to statements I had already made 
in 194-5 - 4-6 concerning my wartime assignments as'- recorded in my 
personnel file, did I succeed in convincing the Russians of my 
veracity. I further pointed out that some Soviet agency apparently 
had copied my personnel data from the Moscow central prisoner of 
war locator file, and that ;there . probably existed a second Colonel 
Haider, inasmuch as a colleague had once ' asked ne about him,- The 
female interpreter and the interrogation officer immediately plied 
me with questions, about the identity of this second Colonel Haider 
and asked who had:. mentioned him to me, I replied that this con- 
versation had taken place several years ago in Gamp No.. 58/6. 

Another case is that of Major der Reserve (reserve major) 
Hahnebutt (I am not sure about the spelling of his name, in civilian 
life he had been a Forstmeister* in the Harz Mountains), For three 
weeks he was held in solitary confinement and for several weeks he 
was subjected ; to.;,grueling interrogations, in order to collect evi- 
dence to . show that during the., war he had; committed ' a- crime - In Russia. 
4 short time' later-, Major Hahnebutt was shipped from camp alone. 
Subsequently we learned that in the area in question not this Major 
Hahnebutt but. another officer bearing the same name, had: allegedly 
committed war crimes. Since after eighteen months, we; hoard from 
Germany that our comrade Hahnebutt had- neither returned nor sent 
mail, it is to be feared that he was condemned. 

^Forestry master (administrative functionary for forestry). 

An honorable East Prussian farmer, who worked in a camp shop 
was, upon order of the interrogation commission, suddenly relieved 
of his job and forbidden to leave the camp. He. was interrogated 
time and again because the investigating officers wanted to prove 
that he was a colonel in disguise. The fact is that more than a 
year previously, the Russians had repatriated a colonel bearing the 
same name as the farmer, . . 

Even more serious was the following case of mistaken identity: 
Dr. Bettenhaeuser, a divisional administrative officer, had been 
charged with the requisitioning of furnishings or similar items in 
a Russian city, although he had never been in the area where the in- 
cident supposedly had taken place. He succeeded in informing his 
relatives about the charges. A namesake, who had carried out' the' 
requisition upon official orders, and who' had long since been repa- 
triated to West Germany, thereupon furnished an affidavit before 
a German notary public to the effect that he was the Bettenhaeuser v 
sought by the Russians, The relatives intended to send the affidavit 
to Soviet- authorities in order to exonerate the falsely accused Dr. 
Bettenhaeuser, Since I have heard nothing about the outcome of this 
measure until no?*, I surmise that it proved unsuccessful. 

In the course of ' an investigation the interrogation officer 
was informed that the- accused party he was looking for ': had been 
sent home a long time ago. He replied that it was too -bad for. the 
man responsible for letting him go. It : is therefore likely that the 
investigating officers, for their own protection, substitute the pri- 
soners still available for accused namesakes who have been repatri- 
ated, - ' 

Another method used by interrogators is to belittle the im- 
portance of a question. Either they says "You may as well admit 
it, becuase the question does, not involve you," or they pretend that; 
the question is utterly unimportant. For instance, an engineer com- 
mander was told that he would not be held criminally responsible if 
he had ordered the demolition of a bridge during combat for tactical 
reasons. -As far as known, a few months later he was sentenced to 
twenty-five years at hard labor. 

A military police officer, accused of murdering Russian pri- . 
s oners, of war, named as defense witness a general staff (division, 
operations) officer* The latter happened to remember the incident . 
and v/as able to absolve the military police officer; in the course' 
of two interrogations. Subsequently he himself was accused and' 
thrown into jail. One of the charges was that he had been "present" 
during the interrogation of Soviet prisoners of war. 

By way of contrast, the interrogators, made' every effort to ex- 
clude favorable testimony from the record'. A field grade officer' 1 ' 


was questioned as a witness about matters concerning his former 
commander. He exonerated the commander and also mentioned the 
social measures the latter had initiated in favor of Russian civil- 
ians during quiet periods. The interrogating officer incredulously 
replied that this general must have been an angel, 

ee» Physical Mistreatment . Interrogation officers re- 
peatedly mistreated prisoners who refused tp give testimony which, 
though contrary to the facts, was needed as incriminating evidence. 
From among a number of such cases I have personal knowledge o£ the 
following two: . 

An interrogation officer slapped a major and gave a divisional <: 
administrative officer a blow on the chin. Both these incidents 
took place, during the summer of 1949 in the "Forest Camp" (No. 
?270/l6). Before such acts of mistreatment occurred, the woman 'in- 
terpreter was sent from the room in order not to have a witness 
present. , ; . 

Prisoners who refused to make statements as desired were in 
numerous cases thrown into the- "dungeon" where they received, de- 
pending on the interrogation officer's whim, either their regular 
officer rations or the very substantial cut in food prescribed for 
men under arrest. Frequently the dungeons are half under the ground. 
The windows could be opened, and some of the rooms had neither 
flooring, chairs nor beds.. Since most "dungeons" were built of wood/'- 
the rooms were very damp and greatly qver crowded whenever 'a great 
many interrogations took place at the same time. But. even in over-' 
or-owded' rooms the only toilet facility available for six to eight 
men was a single bucket which was emptied in the morning and evening. 

No washing facilities were available ..even for prisoners who had 
to stay in the dungeon for several- weeks. The guard normally brought 
in food in the morning and' of ten not again . until late at night. The 
"dungeon" in the "Forest Camp" was completely cut off from the outside 
world so that no aid whatever summoned in case of heart 
attacks or other cases of sudden sickness. 

In the summer of 1949 I was in the "Forest Camp" (No. 7270/l6). 
There I heard from reliable sources the details of the following in- 
cidents. • ■• As the result of an investigation a certain field grade 
officer had been 'thrown into" the "dungeon." After weeks he was " 
released due to the efforts ' of the very clever German; camp administra- 
tion. It, had been possible to do this"' only because .the interrogation : 
officer who -. ordered : the incarceration was away on a trip.. However, 
as a result it was found that the latter had entirely forgotten the 
officer and because of 1 this' had not ordered his release from the 
"dungeon" before going away. > • ~ 

ff« Transcripts . Written in Russian, the interrogation 
transcripts were not only characterized by the incompetence of the, 
interr ogation officer and the women interpreter but . occa sionally 
malevolence played a part in their preparation. It was reliably : : 
reported by the few Russian-speaking comrades that a certain in- 
terrogation officer was constantly quarreling with his woman in- 
terpreter during interrogations. He accused her. of writing sheer ^ 
nonsense and of being unable to write correct Russian. She had 
retorted that her mistakes were due to the fact that he was too 
stupid to interrogate correctly. 

Since the transcript vjas .written in Russian, the prisoner had : 
no opportunity to verify its contents. There was said to be a re- 
gulation which provides that, upon request, a German translation 
must be made and that it may be signed by the prisoner in question. 
In practice, this regulation was ignored, because there "was never 
enough time to translate the transcripts into German. The in- 
terrogations proceeded. at such a slow and interminable pace that no 
prisoner demanded a written translation for fear of delaying his early 

I was reliably told that during the summer of 194-9 a prisoner 
stationed in the "Forest Camp rr (No. 7270/16) had insisted on a 
written translation, whereupon he was immediately thrown into the 
"dungeon. n When he nevertheless persisted the Russians were greatly 
embarrassed. After a great deal of argument it was agreed that he 
should give up his demand for a written translation and that instead 
the transcript would be read to him in German by two German field 
grade officers acting. as interpreters. After this was, done he signed 
the ..Russian transcript. 

Trustworthy comrades told of other instances where prisoners 
had discovered distorting errors in the transcript, either because, 
they could read Russian, or because the woman interpreter reread the 
contents in German . ' The errors were generally of such a nature as 
to incriminate the prisoner. 

During one of my interrogations the woman interpreter was 
unwilling to read the. transcript to me in German until I energetically 
insisted on it. She remarked that, since everything was accurate 
anyway, a reading was unnecessary. There is no doubt that a regula- 
tion exists which provides for the reading of the transcript in Ger- 
man, because the individual interrogated as well as the interpreter 
must sign a clause at the .end of the transcript affirming that it 
has been read to him.- 

It . is self evident that for the person interrogated there is 
great danger that in signing a transcript such as this he may un- 
wittingly be accusing himself of crimes he never committed* ; 

gg* Confrontations* Interrogators laid great stress on 
having statements lc;prr\9.bc|r r 4t^d;'-^ the 'testimony of ^ other' prisoners 
in the camp., ; ,ln t^^ a call was there-*- 

fore sent out for witnessed ^o t-Hept v/ere questioned on the same 

points, ' . ■ ;v / ';■ .;, . 

r It was known in camp that whenever incriminating evidence 
against a prisoner was produced by Russian witnesses, the accused 
and the witnesses would be brought face to face*;-. 

'The story that many witnesses implicated prisoners in order, 
to protect themselves from punishment by the Soviet authorities is 
probably true. The following tale, circulated in camp, was there- 
fore widely believed. 

A German town. (garrison) commander had been accused of certain 
war crimes by a Russian woman who had formerly worked as interpreter 
in his military government office.. During a confrontation, she 
weepingly repeated her charges, although the officer had not committed 
the crime of which he was accused nor indeed any. other crimes or of- 
fenses. There was no doubt but that the woman was not' motivated by 
revenge, and that the reason for her action was solely a hope of 
mitigating the punishment threatening her for collaboration -with the 
enemy., . V; .' 

Another former town (garrison) commander told me of the f 01~ - 
lowing' incident immediately after it took place. He had. also been' : 
accused of .some sort of crime or offense, although he did not know 
by whom. ' The German field "grade .off icer- was . 'taken by car. to the" ' 
"Sand Gamp" (I do not remember its number j- it is located about eight ' 
kilometers southeast of the "City 'Gamp, n No,. -7270/3) . Here in ah 
office he was confronted with the former Russian mayor with -whom lie 
had worked when he was town commander.- The mayor .was serving' out''"- 
his ' punishment in the "Sand Gamp," presumably for collaboration ! ' *'••.. 
with the enemy. It was lucky for the'- field grade officer, that the 
mayor was in the near-by "Sand Camp, " otherwise, he would most likely 
have been sent "Via individual' shipment" to the place where he had 
acted as town ..(garrison) commander during the war., and thus would 
have vanished from view. During the confrontation in the '"'Sand 
Camp , n -the . Russians ■ tried' in • no way to . influence the testimony of 
the mayors,' The off leer in /question stressed . this point. . The re«- : , 
suit "of the confrontation was his 'complete exoneration. ' ■ 

• °-« Mail c ■ Mail .service with our families in Germany was '•irregu- 
lar , After, we .had been / trans f err ed - f r om the. . "Gity Camp, " (No . 7270/ 
3) to the "Forest Qaip, <,: (No. > 7270/16}.. in -Marc jx 1949, if I remember 
correctly, w^- E^c^iyed" •' even- less 'mail. ,.The deterioration was ascribed 
by the camp inmates to the laziness of .the Russian woman Interpreter 
responsible for .censorship. ' The- arrival .of the .interrogation com- 
mission in 'the "Forest Camp"- ••(No. 7270/16) affected the delivery' of 

mail to such a degree that it was an exaggeration to speak about 
the existence of mail contacts with Germany* Only a fraction of the 
mail addressed to us was delivered. Moreover, only a few relatives 
of camp inmates, received the post cards which were mailed to them 
during the period from April to September. . The prisoners had the 
impression that, for certain reasons not made known to them, they 
had been cut off from the outside world, 

2» Transfers of Prisoners 

a. From the Barracks . Prisoners were repeatedly shipped from 
camp. In such cases the individual concerned received the order to 
prepare himself to leave. This order often came many hours, and 
usually even days, prior to the time of departure. Instances occurred 
however, when men were highly surprised because they received sudden 
orders to get ready to leave immediately. In such cases they were 
hardly given enough time to pack their belongings I myself know of 
cases when men were- forbidden to talk to their comrades again- before 
leaving. While they packed their belongings a Russian officer would 
be present and urge them to make haste. It was difficult to pack 
because orders to leave almost always- came at night so that the 
packing had to be done by very poor light. The prisoners of course 
never had an opportunity to ask for any items they might have lent' ' 
to comrades. Articles overlooked in packing. could not be forwarded 
and thus were lost forever* In all such cases the prisoners had to" 
wait at the gate for a long time before they actually left the camp. 
We heard subsequently that these prisoners were not accused of 
serious crimes but were merely being sent from the "Forest Camp,; 11 , 
(No. 7270/16) to the "City Camp" (No. 7270/3) in order to be in- 

They were never told their destination in advance. From the 
amount of food taken along, however, they could guess . the length 
of the journey. 

b. Fr om the. Dunge on . Transfers .from the dungeon : were usually 
carried out in an inconspicuous manner either- early in. -the morning . 
or : late at night. The names of the men . shipped out: were generally . 
not learned in camp until some time later and thus only by round- r 
about channels-. Shipment ' from the dungeon was as a. rule tantamount •.. 
to an impending- trial and conviction. ' 

3. Trials 

Since I had; never been present at a tibial, I can merely, retell 
the experience of colleagues who appealed in one . as. witnesses. • The 
individuals sentenced are never,, and the witnesses: hardly ever, , re-- 
turned to their : former camps. ; 

; From the concurring reports of several trustworthy colleagues 
I have gained these impressions. 

The trial witnesses are carefully and systematically rehearsed. 
For this purpose they are taken from camp and put into a prison 
cell where they are completely removed from contact both with former 
comrades and Russians. Time and again they are called for interro- 
gation, frequently in the middle of the night. During these in- 
terrogations they are repeatedly asked the same questions over and . 
over again. Gradually, by a process of suggestion, they are taught 
what they are to say in open court. Whenever they say anything 
which the Russians do not want them to say in court, they are told 
over and over again that that is immaterial. On the other hand, 
they are time and. again told that* "So far vou have testified 

Usually only the prosecution witnesses were heard during the, • 
proceedings, and rarely the a\ r ailable defense witnesses. Examina- 
tion of. the flatter was rejected in somewhat the following words: 
"No more witnesses are required as. the amount of testimony heard 
is entirely sufficient." 

I do not believe the assertion, how ever, that at certain 
trials the prosecutor, judge and defense counsel were one and the 
same person, I do not know whether this is also the case in 
criminal proceedings. The assertion was allegedly taken from a 
serious Russian publication of an informative character. 

4.. Sentences 

Only rarely was it possible to learn anything about the sen- 
tences passed oh prisoners. This -was due to the fact that 
witnesses were not present when -the sentence was pronounced. They 
had always already been returned to solitary confinement. The 
condemned were also immediately after the sentence had been passed, 
marched back to solitary confinement, They were never returned to 
their former; camp* Consequently, they had no opportunity to in- 
form their coarades. Only in exceptional instances did they meet, 
while .en. route, some German comrades to whom.- they then shouted 
their names and. their sentence.. In this way those remaining in 
camp heard news about their condemned friends and this gave them 
an opportunity to inform their relatives. 

5* Execution of Sentences 

It. was impossible for me to learn anything definite about the 
execution of sentences. According to press reports and the in- 
formation received from comrades I have a definite impression that 
the condemned were no longer treated as prisoners of war but rather 

as Russian convicts. All their property and also all their clothing 
was said to have been taken from them. Even though this property 
is downright worthless according to European standards, to a pri-r. 
soner it nevertheless represents: a very valuable. aid in relieving 
the terrible hardship of Russian captivity. As an illustration of 
how -prisoners estimated trifles, I would like to mention that,, 
during a walk after my repatriation, I found myself wanting tb pick 
up an empty but new food can, because such a can, is valuable for a 
prisoner.* It is further reported that instead of their own' 
clothing the German convicts get Russian .clothing, that is to say, 
a single suit of dirty rags. 

Furthermore, the convicts no longer receive even the rations 
of the Soviet Army, not to mention officers 1 rations. They are 
fed convicts* rations which- allegedly are smaller than those of the 
civilian population. The rations of civilians are smaller than 
those supplied the Red Army. ,. 

Since they no longer have the status of prisoners of war, all 
mail contacts with home are cut off. 

The sentences are reportedly carried out in such a manner 
that one, or at most a few convicted German prisoners are sent to 
a Russian penal camp where they have to live among convicted 
Russians. What tortures such a life means can be imagined only 
by someone who had spent years in Russian captivity,,- -We all knew 
it to be an absolutely reliable fact that the convicts ~- and some 
prisoners of -war who had never . been sentenced to any .punishment . 
Y/hatsoever were treated in a similar manner -- - were driven on to 
perform the heaviest kind of labor while having to subsist on en- 
tirely inadequate rations and had to live in the worst kind of 
quarters. Whenever a prisoner became so weak as to be absolutely 
unfit for work — - the official Russian term for it is "O.K., ,. n whose 
meaning we were never able to find out — - he was sent to a recupera- 
tion camp. By means of adequate meals, and because he is not de- 
tailed to any work or only for a short time to the lightest sort 
of work, .the prisoner is "fattened up." As soon as he has recu- 
perated, he .was again shipped from the recuperation camp to the 
work , camp where he was once more . ?,reakened until he reached the 
"O.K." condition. It may be assumed that, as a rule, a prisoner 
became physically exhausted four times a year and . that he was \ ' 
fattened up. as many times. . , . " . \ 

As an example of the treatment meted out to Russian convicts 
I would like to mention that in the spring of 1949 the "Sand Camp" 
(as far as I remember No. 7270/5) was occupied by Russian convicts. 
Their 'number was by far greater than the camp? s capacity.. The ' 
barracks, consequently,, could not . hold all the prisoners although 
they were packed terribly close together. A large number of them 

- 15 - 

had to live in the open air, -ivithout a' roof ' ovsr their heads or even 
a board underneath then. They had no protection whatever , during 
rainfalls* According. to reliable sources, the; conditon persisted - 
not merely for a short period but for quite . some' time* I myself saw 
the overcrowded conditions in this camp when we passed it on a 
march, . . . r ■ 

6. Number of Persons Concerned 

a » At Interrogations . Probably every prisoner of war without 
exception was interrogated*. However, the frequency, length and 
type of interrogation varied greatly, Whereas prisoners who appeared 
of • no interest to the Russians were hardly .troubled, those who seemed 
to possess information were subjected to repeated questionings of 
the most harrassing nature, v. 

Shipments * I am unable to state the number of prisoners 
shipped from our camps, either as witnesses or as defendants, be- 
cause in the summer of 194$ I. had to burn the diary I had carefully 
kept in order to protect myself. " 

c. Gonvicts. Due to the aforementioned reason I also cannot 
give the number of convicts. 

7. Categories Affected : 

It was impossible to gain a clear picture about the categories 
subjected to interrogations, inasmuch /as. their composition varied. 
However, approximately the following categories were interrogated: 

General staff officers 

Members of the Ic Branch '/intelligence ■ ' 
Engineer troops 
Administrative officers • 

Occasionally the interrogations were also carried out . in- such 
a manner that all former members of any one headquarters or of any 
one unit present in camp were questioned about the identical sub- 
ject, generally for ' the purpose of collecting incriminating evidence 
against a specific individual. This was the case, for instance,, with 
all officers assigned to the headquarters of General der Gebirgs- 
truppen Le Suire .' 

8. Purpose ' 

It was impossible for prisoners; to obtain a clear picture of the 
purpose of the interrogations and sentences. They all agreed, how- 
ever, that either one, several, or all of the following reasons may 
have accounted for these measures: 

a. Revenge on the vanquished enemy. 

. b. Procurement of. voluminous material 'on .war crimes, in order . 
subsequently to make 'counterclaims.; should Germany demand reparations . 
for atrocities' perpetrated by Russians in. East Prussia, Silesia, and; : 
elsewhere.: ■ " ; , v ' , 

c * Strengthening the spirit of the partisans , in Russia by de- 
monstrating te the civilian population that all Germans who had 
carried out measures against the partisans, even though these mea- 
sures were entirely legal according to international law, had been 

d. Intimidation of the -Russian population by means of a de- 
monstration showing that all those who had collaborated with the 
invader were punished, and that the long arm of retributive justice 
reached every offender, even if after a long interval* 

e. The desire to have a basis for bargaining . Prom Russian 
newspapers read to us we learned that the Soviets greatly desired 
to lay hands on Russian emigres, whom they described as "pitiful 
deportees." This. applies particularly to former members of the 
"Vlassov Army," whom they hated. 

It is also possible that the prisoners were to be used in a 
bargain for political objective. We were convinced, at any rate, 
that our repatriation had been repeatedly delayed because of a 
political situation considered unfavorable by the Soviets. .: 

f . The desire to keep anti-Communist elements away from 
Germany « I do not believe the Soviets deceive themselves about the 
fact that prisoners who have been held in Russia for many years hate 
Communism, and might become obstacles to the further evolution of 
Communism in the Eastern Zone. 4 remark , made by a political in- 
doctrination officer and circulated by reliable sources during the 
winter of 1948 - 49 in the "City Camp" (No. 7270/3), may be of in- 
terest in this connection: "A shipment of prisoners of war arriving 
from Russia in Germany tears down more in political reconstruction 
work than the entire SED party can rebuild in a whole year." If I 
remember correctly, as early as in November 194$? we prisoners 
suspected that the German Communists were conniving with the Russians 
concerning a further delay in our repatriation. We attached sig- 
nificance to a statement made by a leading SED member which was 
circulated among prisoners in Russia. The statement read approxi- 
mately as follows: 

"On the occasion of a visit by leading Eastern Zone politicians 
(whose names were mentioned) to Moscow, the prisoner of war problem 
was also discussed. The Soviet Foreign Minister declared that this 
problem would soon be solved satisfactorily." 

We immediately asked ourselves: "What does ! soon' mean in 
Russia? And 1 satisfactorily* to whom?. Does this mean, to the . satis- 
faction of the Russians or to the satisfaction of the SED?" The 
extension, from -31 December .1943 to. 31 December. 1949.,; of the final 
date set for the repatriation . of all ; prisoners of war in the Soviet 
Union was considered by the majority as a confirmation of their 
suspicion that the SED had suggested, this delay. • 

II. The Period from 18 November to 22 December 194.9 

After the departure of our repatriation. train I learned about 
what happened in the "City Camp" (No. 7270/3) through letters I- 
wrote to several reliable field grade officers who left the camp on 
22 December 1949. with the last shipment of which I know. For several 
hours, during his visit here in Bayreuth, I also had an opportunity 
to talk with a very dependable reserve major whom I used 'to know, 
about the events' which took place in the "City Camp" (No. 7270/3) 
after my departure on 17 November 1949. 

On the basis of these inquiries I gained the foil owing; im- 
pressions* ' : 

!• Interrogations ■ 

a. Chronological Order of Events . The wave of arrests 
popularly known as "dungeon with packed luggage" — which had reached 
an unprecedented volume before we left on 16 November, increased 
considerably after our departure. The. initial preparations for the 
impending arrests had been personally observed by a large number of 
my fellow repatriates. To begin with, alterations were made in one 
of the two hospital barracks in the camp by putting bars on win- 
dows, which transformed it into-' a • !t dunge on :. bar^cfes'; ;;:TMs work was 
rapidly finished after our departure. The hospital barracks was 
transformed into a dungeon barracks' and separated; from the rest of 
the camp by a barbed wire fence. • 

The wave of arrests decreased toward the end ; of November* The 
: interrogations w ere gradually discontinued and the numerous 'investi- 
gation personnel disappeared. Left over, were two young interrogation 
officers who. apparently were to work on. unfinished odds and ends of 
which, in -Russia there are always some, in every .line of . endeavor. 

It was rumored that another shipment of - prisoner s .' of war was to , 
leave on or about 3 December. This rumor gained weight following an 
unusual semi-official statement made by political, indoctrination 
officers before our departure. 'According to this statement, the rest 
of the camp inmates were to be sent home eight to ten days after our 

. departure* It is a well-known fact that the Russians - allow themselves 
a- great deal of latitude in observing, deadlines. This statement 
could thus have been regarded -as a confirmation of the rumor about • 

. the repatriation "shipment to leave on, 3 December, I was told as a 


matter of fact that the list of repatriates for this shipment was 
already in the camp,, bat that its publication had been delayed time 
and again. From the foregoing it may therefore safely be assumed 
that a repatriat on shipment was actually planned to leave some time 
between 1 and 10 •December. 

It was a complete" surprise when early in December' an interro- 
gation commission of unprecedented sizB, numbering: 32 men, arrived 
in the "City Camp" (No. 7270/3). .The interrogations began all over 
again, with a zeal hitherto unknown. They took place in a Russian 
administration building located outside the camp, and in a hospital 
room, as well as in barracks No. 4 which formerly had housed pri- 
soners. The arrests now reached proportions which exceeded even 
the November figures. The dungeon, that is to say, the two. dungeon 
barracks, most of the time held about 150 German prisoners, whereas 
before my departure, the average number was about thirty-four* A 
short time- after 17 November 1949, 154 field .grade officers were - . 
suddenly photographed* • ' 

b. Interrogations and Interrogation Methods . Interrogations 
and interrogation methods remained unchanged; they have been des- 
cribed in the first part of this report * 

2. ' Repatriation Shipments " > ■■'■?. ■.. 

Shipments were also continued in -the same manner as described 
in. the; first part of this report. - 

3. Court Procedures 

Nothing became known about court procedures after our de- 
parture on 17 November, ; , • ' ' v 

4. Sentences 

Some of the sentences passed: on their ...comrades became known to 
the prisoners remaining in- camp Most of them were for twenty-five 
years at hard labor. The sentences were, passed for crimes which 
likewise have been described .in the first part of this, report, and 
which Included atrocities,' fighting against' partisans measures 
against civilians, mistreatment of Russian PWs, requisitions and 
similar crimes* '.'' .." 

5. Execution of .Sentences 

It is not impossible that in the meantime there has been a 
change in the manner ■ of ; ex6cutiijg.'.;$e.]Qtences as compared with the 
methods depicted in the first part of- this report. A reliable field 
grade officer told me- after his return that German soldiers were 

- 20 r- 


assembled in the "Shaft .Camp" ("Schachtlager" ) . I do not know the 
number of this camp 5 it is 'pal' t of the area of Camp No. 7270 and 
like the "City Camp" it is' located near. Borovichi. Who these Ger- 
man' soldiers were did not become known in the "City Camp" (No. 
7270/3) although, it was believed possible that they were comrades 
who had been convicted. But this does not necessarily indicate' a 
change in the manner ' of executing sentences, is possible 
that the convicts/ if such they are, were merely collected in the 
"Shaft Camp" in order to be later distributed to various Russian 
penal camps. ( ■: . < . 

6. Categories' Affected .. 

Among the categories affected the first group -was. composed of 
the judges who Yirere without exception thrown into the dungeon* This 
included even those who had never been in Russia- during the war. 
This measure' was said to have been completed by IB November 19-49* 
The next group was that of . the administrative officers. . Next came 
all prisoners who had been in the transportation; corps, particularly 
railway station commanders, and the like » They . all ?/ere 'charged 
with being "accomplices in the deportation of civilians." In addi- 
tion, the following other individuals were affected s. All former 
members of security units and of units for special assignments > 
all those who had had anything to do with Russian prisoners of war; 
all regimental artillery commanders without' exception; the- majority 
of infantry regimental commanders (it can be stated with certainty 
that only four, of these were sent home with the shipment leaving 
on 22 December 1949) I all naval officers ; all members of SS-forma- 
tions; all former police officers (except for a major who formerly 
Y/orked for the Bavarian state police as instructor* and who was.' re- 
patriated on 22 December 1949) , all members of. police units, which 
had operated in Russia, down to the grade of Oberwac htme ister 
(master sergeant); and finally all Wehrmacht legal officials of 
intermediate rank. ,;v ■' 

The Russians likewise retained all construction engineers, all 
"OaT." (Organization TODT) leaders and even one army postal unit 
commander. I do not know for sure whether all these men were thrown 
into dungeons o But it may be assumed that ''the majority -of them met. 
this fate. 1 

It is characteristic that a Silesian priest who, to the best 
of my knowledge had served in the Army as. a medical officer, and 
while a prisoner as an interpreter, was found guilty of crimes 
against humanity and .sentenced to • twenty^ five years at hard labor , 

An .'army chaplain, who had seen service in a security , division, 
was" prematurely discharged from the hospital, . where he was under 
treatment for erysipeles, in order to : be .interrogated, Because of a 
heart ailment he collapsed three times, once after he had been put 
in the dungeon. 

The tremendous 'inci*eas$.:ift -the • idCimber of prisoners sent to the 
dungeon was attributed to the -fact that ''Soviet authorities were now ' 
broadly applying Paragraph 17, 1 of • the ' Russian penal code which 
penalizes any pefson : wlio - wts ' 'an accomplice or who had .knowledge of 
an offense. For lack of . specific evidence, a defendant was charged 
with' having been an accomplice, on the" grounds that he was in the 
area in which a ' -crime -against humanity or a similar offense had 
occurred. ' 

I would like to mention the following other incident which 
is characteristic » A major in a railway engineer unit was also 
sent to the dungeon, as were the prisoners who had been his sub- 
ordinates. During an interrogation he pointed out that his superior 
had been sent home with the .17 ; November •. shipment. The interpreter, 
a friendly and good-natured woman,- rwhom I knew by name, replied that 
times were different then. 

It is absolutely certain that among those retained there is 
not single individual who can be justly charged with an offense 
and still less - with a crime. . 

7. The Number of Convictions 

: ':a, In Gamp No. 7270/3 . It was impossible" for me to obtain a 
reliable picture of the number of convictions.. ' • 

All reports were unanimous in stating that as of 22 December 
1949 300 field grade officers were detained in- the "City Camp" 
(No. 7270/3). : ; 

It 'is noteworthy that the number should be exactly three 
hundred. From, among this group six officers were allowed to go 
home with the ••22 December shipment. However, in their stead six" • . r: 
others allegedly were detained in the "Hornkaserne" (Horn barracks) " 
in Frankfurt on the Oder. If the report is true, this was apparently 
done in order to bring the number to exactly three hundred again. 

•b. In the Other Russian Prisoner of -War Camps. The men who 
came back to Germany with the 22 December shipment from Camp Ne. 
7270/3 unanimously told me that en route they had met prisoners . 
returning from other camps.. Regardless of whether the latter came 
from' the Murmansk, Ural, Moscow, Tif lis, Rostov or Odessa areas, 
they all agreed that in each camp' approximately 50 to 60 percent of 
the German prisoners' .were still detained. Among- them ' wer e not only 
men^Mt also, women- -who had served'aS ' signal 'auxiliaries, for ex- y 
ample, in headquarters and similar offices. 

Not only Germans were detained, however, but also prisoners of... 
war' -of other -nationalities. - It is an: undisputed fact 1 'that; 'about . 

- 22 


200 Spanish prisoners were held in the :"City Camp" (No. .7270/3) . • 
as early as the summer of 1949 i Before my repatriation they were 
transferred from the "Forest Camp" (Nov. 7270/16) to the "City. .Gamp*? ~ 
as far .as I remember in late September or ea£ly. October— - from 
there they were sent to the " Shaft -Camp, " whose number I do not 
know, although it is also near Borovichi. -.After the departure. of our 
repatriation train on' 17 November 1949 these Spaniards were . again 
sent back to the "City Camp.' 1 . According to reliable reports, more 
Spanish prisoners of war Were shipped from the Odessa area, and 
probably also from the Wjasma area, to the "City Camp" where they 
finally numbered about 250 men. It is interesting to note that among 
these Spaniards were not only those who had fought with the Germans 
in the "Blue Division" during World War II, but also veterans from 
both sides in the Spanish Civil War, that is to say, men who served 
Franco and men who served in Spain's Red Army. 

I also believe that Austrians and Hungarians are still being 
held as prisoners in the USSR. 

8 . Purpose 

The purpose of detaining such a large number of prisoners can 
of course only be guessed. I share the general view that among the 
reasons mentioned in the first part of this report the decisive one 
seems -to be Russia's desire to use prisoners for bargaining purposes. 

This opinion is supported by the fact that identical measures 
were carried out simultaneously in all camps. In view of the over- 
centralization prevailing in the Soviet Union there can be no doubt 
that the wave of interrogations initiated in early December, as well 
as the detention and sentencing of prisoners of war was the result 
of orders issued by a central Moscow agency. 

In this connection I should likewise suspect the following to 
be true. 

The Soviet government had already once before postponed the 
final repatriation date of prisoners of war, namely from 31 December 
1948 to 31 December 1949. For political reasons, probably to use 
them for bargaining purposes, it has again held back a large number 
of these men In pursuit of its objectives the Soviet government 
officials simply ordered as many prisoners sentenced for war crimes 
as they desired to hold in Russia. Since it apparently now wishes 
to "save its face" for political reasons it cannot move up the 
repatriation deadline again. However, since ths Soviet government 
had officially declared that it would repatriate all prisoners of 
wa**, except war criminals and those whose presence was required at 
trials before 31 December 1949, it proceeded to attain its purpose 
in an underhanded manner. According to the Soviet version, Russia 

~ 23,-. 


has- fully observed its pledge by. repatriating all prisoners., except 
those f ound guilty of war crimes. My suspicions are supported by 
the unprecedented speed, unprecedented for Rus sia , ' with which in- .' 
terrogation were carried on and sentences"'; passed. "It is' obvious' ' 
that the whole affair was to be': finished before the end of the ' ' ' ' 
year . Another • point in support of my suspicions . is that an extraor- 
dinarily large interrogation commission numbering about thirty- two 
officers operated in the "City Camp" (No. 72.70/3) » This number 
was almost three times as large as that of any previous interoga-.i 
tioh commission* • . 

(Security Information) 


Office^ Chief of Military History 
Historical Divisinn 
Seventh Army 

Headquarters, European Command 
Intelligence School 
Berlin Military Post 


Military Posts